Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quietly Grandiose

During my Hawaii adventure, I had the opportunity to connect on a energetic (and emotional) level with some powerful animals. The picture below shows me giving Reiki to green sea turtles who loved to visit Maui's rocky edge at twilight. They lifted their heads, flipped their bodies over and flapped their limbs. On this particular evening, I stood as close as I could to the ocean and offered my hands of healing to them.

In all honesty, I was actually looking for some healing energy myself. My mom and I made it a ritual to watch the turtles at sunset each evening and I found it therapeutic to be in the presence of these creatures I could barely see in in the twilight's shadows. Each night my mother and I thanked these sea turtles for their presence, wisdom, and good spirit before saying goodnight.

These ancient beings gave me something -- some sense of groundedness, something that I still can't quite grasp. In some ways, I felt the strength and wisdom of my dad in these turtles. Or that's what I was searching for on those evenings sitting with my mother. I was searching for the missing piece: my dad. And further, my own sense of personal power and strength (characteristics my father embodied without his even knowing it).

On this particular night, with turtles active and attentive, I wanted to give something back.

While standing on my little jagged lava rock, waves splashing at my feet as the tide was coming in, several turtles seemed to move closer, curious about this being standing so still and so focused on them. They lifted their heads, dipped down, rolled over, and generally seemed to accept my energy. How do I know this? I don't really know, as in scientifically know, other than I felt it. I felt these turtles, these threatened species, take the energy I was offering through my hands. And I sensed this acceptance in my body like a wave splashing through my abdomen, filling my heart.

Even as this was a profound moment, I discovered I had a wish, a dream. I wanted 100 sea turtles to congregate at my feet, lifting their heads in unison, taking in the Reiki energy (like that scene in the film Whale Rider when Pia, the 11-year old girl, herds a pod of whales on her own) and then thanking me by doing a synchronized turtle dance.

This did not happen. And I'm not sure synchronized turtle dances happen, except maybe in Disney movies.

But my awareness of my fantasy made me realize how small moments can be so powerful. Sure, 100 turtles performing just for me would be astounding, but why do I need this huge gesture? The small gestures, the small movements and feelings of that evening were actually quite huge. I was opening myself up, raw and sometimes teary-eyed, to these turtles whose ancestors lived over 150 million years ago. (As my partner told me over the phone from Seattle, "Now that's some wisdom they got there.")

And then I began to think of how grandiose-centric we can become in our thinking and imagining, when maybe the amazing, the deep, the profound is right under our nose. Right now in the moment we are living.

Why do we want bigger and better and faster when in a 15-minute period in Hawaii in 2009 a human woman with a barely three million year-old lineage is making a connection with a creature whose tribe has reminded unchanged for 150 million years. Now that's astounding!

So this realization began to open me up to the quietly grandiose all around me. As twentieth century physician Thomas Lewis wrote, "Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise."

Imagine what would happen if you took this probability to heart and found amazement everywhere?

Try this:

What in your daily life, that you might normally see/feel as simple, mundane, or plain, is actually grandiose? How can you turn something "normal" to dazzling in your mind? Find something for which you'd like to feel differently. A relationship, a home, a workplace, a companion animal, an art piece. See if you can look at it and examine it deeply to see the hidden gem inside, the little surprise that makes you feel bodily contentment (like the frothy wave feeling in my stomach). See if you even find yourself delighted by the small things--the things in your life that usually flutter by. Catch those little flutterers. Take them into your arms and see who or what they really are.

1 comment:

  1. This post is actually from the lovely Tracey, who posted this on my Facebook page. She agreed to have me post her response here as well:

    I wonder what it is that makes it want some grandiose thing all the time? I often feel this way--this need for something BIG and IMPORTANT and PERFECT. That's one of the many ways motherhood has been a challenge for me. The days are long and full of small and often annoying things (food spilled, diapers filled, toddlers wailing) and I often have ... Read Morethis sense of expectation--when, when oh when will it feel RIGHT? WHen will I be recognized? But all the time, in little ways, motherhood amazes me--I just have to learn to take pleasure in the small moments and not expect perfection.

    Today was Maeve saying "when's my father's day?" b/c she thinks that father's day is another way of saying birthday!